Friday 27th May 2022

The Month That Was: January 2022. 5/51. #LifeThisWeek. 7/2022.

The Month That Was: January 2022. 5/51. #LifeThisWeek. 7/2022.

Welcome to my re-cap of January 2022.

I am no longer creating Telling My Story updates any more. The series can be found here.Telling My Story.

The post next week will be the F for F I N A L one. I decided this because it became onerous and time consuming.

Instead, I am going to plan an “end of month” post instead to help keep my memories too.

It’s called The Month That Was.

January 2022.

Before we said hello to January, we said good bye and many thanks for 2021 even though it sure had its challenges….

Could there have been a more welcomed year than 2022?


Yes, and not this one either it appears as we, and the rest of the world, continued along the pandemic path thanks to Covid and its newest kid on the block, Omicron which has proved its power affecting so many of us. Despite vaccinations too.

New Year’s Day.

I like to get out and about even for a drive and this time, I needed to go to the southern end of the Central Coast, to Spotlight for a click and collect, and after I did that, I ventured into Coles nearby and came out with prized treasures…..

A 5 Pack of Rapid Antigen Tests ($50) and 3 bananas.

I continued not to feel 100% as we say, so took things pretty easily and I do love my drives but I knew my limits.

I loved visiting a very quiet Woy Woy on 1 January and I got to have a little walk around to the water’s edge. Some changes have been made to the ferry terminal and I loved seeing these two flags flying at the CWA. Country Women’s Association.

Over the early days of January we watched some cricket ( OK, B did, I just got updates) and I blogged a bit, and created a bit and tried to get a rhythm into my new:

Self Compassion Focus.

It’s 28 day via an app and very helpful and professionally done. I continue to learn more about the value of compassion to self…first…but life long learnings take time to undo. I listen to a ‘lesson’ each nigth, complete gratitude lists, write in a journal, map my feelings too.

In conjunction with my two Daily Calm Practices and reading up via others’ websites, I am doing quite well. However, a virus, as my GP tells me will play tricks with mood and thoughts so I need to balance that knowledge when considering how I am actually feeling.

And getting out and about remains a goal each day even though it is no longer within a shopping centre for any kind of browsing time. I mostly go locally to nature to observe, take in the beauty and surrounds and breathe deeply to remember what IS important…life is!


And then there were these memories from January 2022.

Family Time Was Special.

It was hard to believe that it was one year on from last year’s Golden Wedding Anniversary and now we would be seeing our family back at our place again. Not everyone could come but we has a ‘full house’ of love, sharing and laughter with both of our adult kids, our daughter’s two (2 adult aged ones were not able to come) and our son’s four.

FOOD: well, I always like to share the home made and other food with a large and appreciative group. I made lasagne from a great recipe I found here. Hadn’t made lasagne for years and it was a ‘just right’ hit for all ages. Home made friend rice, some salad, bread, chicken from the supermarket and a few treats. Of course, I have treats…and take home bags as well. We see these young kids so infrequently now it’s fun to make memories as we did.

NOISE! Yes, it was, but the best kind. Kids having fun, sharing their stories and amusing their grandparents too. A Big Task at each visit is for Papa to measure the young ones to see how they have grown. One, Mr 21, goes way past his Papa now, and off the chart: literally! But he sure could amuse everyone with his keyboard skills and we had a ‘jam session’ that I captured between the laughter. He IS Firelite and a DJ and he is signed up to a label so he is doing well and just announced, he is booked to play in Croatia and has plans for travel!

Then this:

Grandsons at Play…& chat…& no soccer balls over the fence!

And an updated family shot with our son and daughter: grateful for their permission to share.

And some of the distractions I have been using to help time pass…as I wait for…time to pass! Because, sometimes that IS all we can do….

And never missing a session in the morning and in the evening of Calm. These are not double up days. Just one day with 2 meditations on each. Over 2 years in a row. No way could I miss it and in uncertain times like I am having now, even moreso!

Colouring My World is also a daily essential…in photos and art!


Whilst the 26th January can mean different things to the people of Australia, I chose to spend it this way.


27th January is a special anniversary for ME!

The day I began my teaching career here at Barraba Central School. About 7 hours from Sydney. Mum & Dad drove me up with all of my belongings and saw me settled into a share house with other teachers from the school. Dad tells me Mum cried all the way home. I said to him recently “until you are a mum, you have no idea”. True.

And as January came to a close, this happened.

I eventually got back to Dee Why to see my father, who turned 98 on 11 January. He has been quite well and just a little  lonely but also not wanting to do much at all as he is very restricted with mobility and vision. He misses reading but he can see some things like photos and people if they are near him. He was a very social person but prefers to be in his unit now and have just a few visitors.

I drive down, stopping at St Ives Showground for a loo break and then down Mona Vale Road, to the back roads down to Narrabeen (my bro lives there) through Collaroy and into Dee Why. I have morning tea for us with me, and a pack of frozen meals for him made by me. And conversation.

Wanted to show me he’d moved a fave piece of Mum’s here & reminded me, I painted the poppy and wrote out the poem “On Flanders Fields” as Dad’s father fought there.

We are both talkers and sharers of stories so we are well matched…and he is getting better at listening…

And on the last weekend of January….

And a little sharing here of what I have been up to in January creatively:

You know the line from Hamilton is “I’ve got to be in the room where it happens”….well, this is my room/space where the blog happens! And more.

And the finale….we get to stay on as tenants here until at least April 2023. The rent went up significantly BUT we hope if real estate prices ever settle, then it may not be as big a change after then….but I am supposed to be not thinking too far ahead, right?

Wishing all the kids going back to school, starting school and those off to High School my very best…this lovely one is off to H.S. to join her brother, and it’s where her older cousins attended too. We cared for her from 5 months 3 days a week…sigh!

Miss 5 explores the water at Long Reef before  she started school in 2015.

How was your January?


Life This Week. #276. 31.1.2022.

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  1. Wow. There’s a lot there. Those pics of the covid RATS seem to be all over my photo reel at the moment.Ha. Strange days. Great shot of St Ives beauty and I’m glad you got to see your dad. Nice to see the anniversary of the career. I think we don’t celebratethose achievements (milestones?) enough. While it’s work, it’s also a large part of who we are. Especially if a teacher or someone who contributes to others and the fabric of society. It is indeed to be recognised. #Lifethisweek

    • Yes it was/is that in January for us. We have 3 family birthdays and a wedding anniversary, and also two cars to register (the money flows out!) and as former now retired schoolies, we are very much into what January is about.

      I do enjoy my regular stop at St Ives, because it comes after 75 mins or so of M1 driving and Pacific Hwy and makes a good break for the loo and to get out and stretch my legs as they say.

      Thanks for your words about career anniversaries. If we don’t share and mark the occasions, who else will? I am a great believer in those kinds of memories…and why Telling My Story was helped by that part of my nature.

      Hope your ‘back to’ weeks go well. RATS and all.


  2. You have a lovely family Denyse.
    Thank you for the lasagne recipe. I will give it a shot. My kids are hard to please.
    I have spent my January resting, hanging with my kids, visiting the beach and adjusting to my new chemo.

    • Thank you so much Jody, I could say the same right back to you.

      I haven’t eaten lasagne for a while, always seemed a bit rich, but this was good and all the grandkids got into it too.

      I hope back to school goes well and that your new regime does what it should and treats you well.



  3. What a lovely start to your year Denyse, Family time so precious. It is lovely to have your Dad with you and to share special moments with him. Wishing you a very happy February and thanks for hosting #lifethisweek. Take care xx

    • Thanks Sue, it was not until I pulled all the photos out to decide what to write about that I saw there WAS a lot.

      January is always a big month: school holidays are now memories but we always had our annual beach holiday then, and we have 3 birthdays and our wedding anniversary.

      Dad is wearing out. I would not like to be in his position but he manages his mental health very well as he has had a tough upbringing and perhaps having to grow up at 11 must have an effect. Our relationship now is relatively calm and caring. But there are memories of his over-bearing behaviours over the decades that simmer a bit.

      However, all that aside, he does well and yes, one day when he is not around, his presence in my life will be missed.



  4. I like the way you change things up every now and again Denyse and this end of month reflection is a great way of keeping those memories. So much happened during the month and considering you weren’t feeling the best you still packed a lot in. What fun it must have been having most of the grandkids with you and then your amazing dad turning 98, how fabulous.
    Happy February to you 🙂

    Are we still doing Taking Stock posts this year?

    • Thanks Deb, I am someone who gets bored easily I think, so I need to added stimulation to stay blogging and add some freshness.

      It was a huge month and not being 100% well (threats of is it/isnt it covid) took their toll emotionally. Fortunately I have been greatly helped by the 28 days of self compassion course I did via the paid app and all my usual meditation practices.

      The family time was precious. I tried not to get excited till the day because of recent disappointments. As it turned out due to some unexpected work and illness, the two adult granddaughters did not make it. However, they tell me they will be up to see us soon.

      Taking Stock is definitely there for anyone wanting to use the words and prompt and choice is up to the blogger. I added some idea on the left hand side of the blog too. I will now, as a refreshed, add the prompts for taking stock on the home page. I may use it too.

      Thanks for your 100% support and kindness always,


  5. I ldon’t bed seeing your family photos Denyse. Such a lovely time for you all to get together after so long. January looks like it was a peaceful month for you. As usual your self care practices are inspirational. I hope February brings more happiness your way

  6. It’s amazing how much can happen in one month! Your January looks quite fabulous Denyse despite the pandemic still going on. I love that you continue with your art and your ‘calm’ meditations. These things are so important for our inner health which of course affects our outer (physical) health. I am quite amazed by your Dad. He may have fading vision and limited mobility but at 98 he is doing so very well! I hope that February brings you much joy and happiness and of course good health! xo

    • Thanks Min. We are both aware of health for good reasons aren’t and the precarious nature of ageing for our parents. Dad says “I just want to not wake up one day”…..and he’s right because upheaval for any reason would be something very stressful.

      I am, however, more than even, noticing that we all need to be careful of our physical and mental health and I am making better strides with that now for me.

      I hope your Mum’s health stabilises. You and your sisters are great family carers.

      We did have a busy January at times, punctuated with some covid scares and tests (neg) but it’s what life entails right now isn’t it?

      Sending love,


  7. My final first day at a new school (6th school) was a hot and humid day. Still have such vivid memories of the heat layering stress on top of the ‘everything is new’ challenges. And as it was my 6th school, I at least knew some of the challenges from past experience! Hopefully one day they give good climate control at schools.

    • Gosh, you did have so many changes to content with in terms of schooling Vanessa.

      Nothing worse than the time of year when we start is it?

      Hot and humid and we expect to put young people into scratchy uniforms and hot shoes and socks.

      It’s going to be an interesting start for our grandkids because while the K-6 schools have air con, they have to keep ventilation flowing so unlikely air con can be used. In 7-12 schools no air con but they too will need to make allowances for ventilation. It’s an on-going management thing and I am sure there will be email instructions and trails for 2022 like no other.

      I am so glad you will get to WFH in this new job.


  8. I love monthly reflection posts (as you probably know from my blog) and it was great to see your wrap up of January. Glad you don’t have to move house and it’s amazing how much you managed to get in this month despite the anxieties around covid. I hope Feb is fab!

    • Thank you, Sanch, yes, I haven’t done monthly nnes before so this is a good re-cap for me, and with ending Telling My Story at the end of 2021 (last chapter is next week) it’s far less of a memory burden for me too!!

      Not moving house is GOOD…large rent hike expected and we can ‘wear’ it…but still, it’s an outgoing on a fixed and lower income.

      But choosing to be grateful!!


  9. Wow! What a big month! So pleased you got to spend some time with Dad and your brood – your cup must be full! These days getting a RAT is like winning the lottery so well done you. Also great news about your house – finding a rental these days is such a bun fight so being able to stay on in a good place is worth it’s weight in gold (and the rent increase!) Wishing you lots of joy in the year ahead x

    • Thanks so much Sam. It was a BIG month in its many ways, but I still reckon yours wins!!

      Good luck to you finding a suitable rental.

      As for the RATS, genuine good luck and happening to be in the right spot. I was last week too, when I dropped into a local priceline as they were ‘selling’ the freebies to us pensioners. So, whilst I hope we never have to use one, we have enough.

      What a year it’s going to be for you too!



  10. It looks like you’ve had a great month Denyse (and you’re so much better at remembering to take photos than I am!) Loved all your art stuff and the time with the grandkids – so wonderful that they still enjoy visiting as they’ve gotten older (I hope ours will too). Omicron is finally making its presence felt in WA and I must say that I’m becoming more reluctant to go to the shops etc – especially now we all have to be masked….it’s just not the same as it used to be. I don’t see things changing any time soon, so we learn to live with it and to enjoy the outdoors while the sun is shining. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Leanne. I am very grateful our grandkids want to visit and the older ones, who are independent and can drive, do want to visit and we are likely to see a couple soon. The older ones had a work commitment and one wasn’t well.

      The oldest grandson LOVED being king of the kids and he was so cool and patient and the impromptu music jam was the best. All of them joining in. Each has, over the many years, sat at their Papa’s piano and he has ‘let them play’…so they remember, they really do!

      As for how you feel about going to the familiar shops, I get that very much and it has waxed and waned here. We have lived cautiously when all was so new but we also still had to get groceries and medicines etc so learned how to take care.

      Getting outside everyday helps me and when we were in lockdown I could still drive somewhere to be in nature and that helped me endure 106 days.

      I know that others in WA are not liking the ways in which supplies are dwindling and this seems worse this time round (different to our issues in eastern states in 2020) because so many of those who transport goods are isolating.

      Yes to my art…and yours and having time out for that.



  11. Your recap of the month is amazing. Beautiful pictures and quite exhaustive!

  12. Such a busy month for you Denyse but I know your days usually are pretty busy. I saw your response to Shiju and you’re right. It’s good to have these records. I enjoy looking at my Facebook memories each day. Sometimes there isn’t much but other days I’m sent back into a sweet reverie thinking about time past.

    • I know! Not until I began adding the photos did I realise. However it was somewhat clouded by the fact I had some kind of virus that “might” have been covid and that stopped me getting to see Dad on his actual bday. Bothered me more than him as a few of his good friends where he lives took him out to lunch. The day before my bro,sil & niece visited and we FaceTimed with the cake! Dad couldn’t get over it!

      I too enjoy my FT memories Deb, and I am not sure if it’s because we are now older, but time seems to be speeding up!

      Thanks for your lovely comment.


  13. Oh WOW Denyse – that definitely was a month that was!!
    So much ‘life’ (good and not so good) happens to you and I really enjoy seeing it recorded in the way you do. Simply, gently, lovingly, not too dramatically, so full enthusiasm where your family is concerned – nothing in your life is dull or staid. Life will certainly not pass you by when you’re having fun and you most certainly were!
    There’s many more months to come this year….looking forward to what you get up to in each of them
    Take care

    • Thank YOU Cathy! It began to dawn on me there was a bit (ok a lot!) to record as I added the photos ….and yet, there were dull spots too.

      Until the family visit day, despite my usual pre planning, I didn’t get my hopes up too much because both of the families had been through Covid made it even more special that most came. And Grandma got to feed them all and have fun too!

      It’s always been busy in January in the last with 3 family bdays and our wedding anniversary but since moving away from Sydney we celebrated on fewer occasions.

      Lots of memories made this January though and happy to record them here. On the blog.

      Your kind and warm words are appreciated.


  14. Denyse, I love when you share photos of your art creations. They are very inspiring. Between your’s and Leanne’s, I’m going to one day be encouraged enough to pick up a pen and “doodle” & color. I have my coloring book, but creating something first to then color in would be a new way to play for me. Thanks for continuing to inspire me.

    • I am so glad that we are helping you get that courage Patricia!! Remember its about the process, not the product! And, like the first walk we do post surgery, you still have to put that foot down bravely and then you are on your way!!

      Play is the essence of what my motivation is to draw, design, and create. It used to be about ‘someone else liking it’ but now I like the process and if I like the product that’s a bonus!!

      Thanks so much for your kindness too.


  15. It’s lovely to see your smiling face as always. Well done with your self-compassion work! I tried one of those apps but found it a bit expensive… I’m not a big fan of subscriptions and they have to be rather cheap to appeal to me. I’ll see how the year progresses, maybe I’ll give it a try for a month or two. For now, I use a simple gratitude app where you write down three things you’re thankful for that day.

    Lovely to see your family photos and that you get out to see places. And wonderful to see your 98-year-old father in good form! Other than the issues you mentioned… he looks good after all.

    • Thanks so much Susanne for your kind and caring words.

      The app was good value for me I guess as it offered me chances to use and examine my self compassion more. Even though I “thought” was being better at self compassion, I realised I was still harsh in my self talk and attitude so I am gently shifting that. And now that the 28 days of the program has ended, I have the daily prompts from there to continue with.

      I so agree that finding gratitude in every day and recording it helps. I am back to this as well.

      It was a tops month for family for sure!

      Take care,


  16. Yum! Your lasagnas look delicious! I bet it was wonderful having some fun family time together. So glad to hear your dad is doing well; I bet he was so happy to see you.

    • Thanks Joanne.

      It had been forever since I made lasagnes and in quantity too. I had been out of the habit of cooking for more than 2. But the taste and the way everyone liked it was the best reward.

      It was a great month for family when we did eventually catch up, so I have good memories made as well as lots of photos!!

      Warm wishes,


  17. It looks as if you had a very full month, Denyse. I’m happy for you that you got to spend time with your family, including your father. My mother-in-law is 94 and in a memory care center. Luckily, it is close to our home and we visit frequently. Despite her memory issues, she still remembers family, so that is lovely. I hope you are feeling better soon–100% as you say. In the meantime, it pleases me to hear how you are focusing on self-care and nature. Here’s to a wonderful February!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words Christie.
      Yes it was full on family times on a couple of occasions and now we live 2 hours from them, it’s a real treat to have the families together.

      Dad does very well independently but he is aware of his risks so keeps himself as safe as possible.

      That sounds like a great place where you MIL is and close by too.

      Yes to wellness, and already feeling so much better and will be seeing my GP today as a catch up check.

      Warm wishes